How would paramedics access units in your Body Corporate Building in an emergency?
There is a real need for strata communities to resolve the issue of facilitating access for paramedics to individual lots (especially where there is electronic security) in an emergency as failure to do this has the potential to put lives at risk.
In Queensland, under the Ambulance Service Act 1991, an authorised ambulance officer (that is authorised by the Commissioner of the Queensland Ambulance Service) ‘may take any reasonable measures— (a) to protect persons from any danger or potential danger associated with an emergency situation …’ including ‘enter any premises…’ and ‘destroy (wholly or partially) or damage any premises…’
Body Corporate Law
There is a provision under the Act for a body corporate to enter a lot under emergency circumstances.
The nature of an “emergency” is not defined, and it is important to remember that police, fire or ambulance services might/should actually be the first port of call for an “emergency”, depending on the circumstances.
How Paramedics Can Access Individual Lots?
If your building has an intercom system that allow individual access to an apartment via a special code – This can be registered with the local ambulance network.
The other option for the Body Corporate to consider would be to place a master key in a key safe that is registered with the Queensland ambulance services. This key safe would need to be kept in the common area for access.
It is vital that the location and access to the key safe or lockbox is secure as to mitigate against potential misuse.
As a last resort, the ambulance would break down the door; however, this would need authority from a supervisor, e.g. a policeman or a fireman.
If a lot has been accessed by forced entry the emergency services should contact the next of kin, Body Corporate Manager or Building Supervisor to carry out the required work, so the unit is not left unsecured.
Having these after-hours numbers available in either your unit or in a building common area can save a lot of time as emergencies do happen 24 hours a day not just during office hours.
Author: Sam Aubrey